What is and what is not the rosé wine

Mar 19, 2021

These days, on the occasion of the rosé Sărut launch, we were surprised to discover that many of our friends are still convinced that rosé wine is produced by mixing white and red wines. So that, we feel forced to let you know not only that this belief is fundamentally wrong, but also that it is even ILLEGAL to mix white and red wines to obtain rosé wines. Not only in Romania, but throughout the European Union, with very few exceptions. Apart from a few small producers in the Champagne region, who have history and tradition on their side, know-how and recipes confirmed over many generations, no one is allowed to mix white and red wines.

You may have heard of an old intention of the European Union, but the rumors have no real basis. The last major debate on this topic took place more than 10 years ago, the whole discussion is public and can be consulted on the European Parliament’s website, the conclusions from then remaining in force until today: do not mix white and red wine.

Then, how is a rosé wine born?

If you have ever bitten or crushed a red grape, you have noticed that the flesh is yellow or greenish. So that, the grape must will be extracted by pressing. The pigments that give the red colour of the wine are found exclusively in the skins, and the duration of the contact between these skins and the grape must (maceration) will dictate the colour of the wine. A grape must that does not come into contact with the skins at all will give a white wine – this is how white wines from Cabernet, Zinfandel, or Pinot Noir are born.

For rosé wines, the contact between the skins and the grape must usually takes between 2 hours, for the wines in which a pink inflection is barely guessed, and 20 hours, for the intensely coloured wines, almost red. In very rare cases, rosé wines born from grapes do not accumulate (genetically!) enough colour to be able to produce red wines, the so-called rosé grapes, as is the case of Tămâioasa Roze, which grows only in Segarcea, or its cousin from Moldova, Busuioaca de Bohotin.

The biggest problem with rosé wines is that the skins not only keep the colour, but also the flavours of the wine, the pulp being the depository of sugars (fructose and glucose), and the short contact between the skins and grape must also mean that these flavours are transferred in much smaller quantities in the case of red wines. Therefore, the art of producing an intense and expressive rosé is, in fact, much more complicated than it seems.

One of the secrets is the perfect choice of the harvest time so that there is a perfect balance between acidity, sugar level (which dictates the level of alcohol after fermentation) and the ratio between grape must and skins – slightly dehydrated grapes will have a slightly more balanced skin, while “rain-swollen” grapes will produce more grape must.

Surely, rosé wine is very demanded, and many producers try to “steal” a part of the market. Probably in some households, mixing red and white wine is something usual, but the final product has no chance to be a quality one. It is similar to blending chocolate and minced meat- both ingredients are tasty on their own, but together they do not make any sense. 

If you are curious to find out more about rosé wine, we always recommend the exercise of “knowledge through holding a glass”. You can taste, from us, the Elite rosé, friendly and straight-forward, Feteasca Neagra Marama- joyful and lively, Tamaioasa Roza- intense and seductive, the sober Minima Moralia- Hope, which has a matured in oak barrels part, or, the new wine- Sarut, dense and expressive, born from the unification of Feteasca Neagra and Pinot Noir. 

Domeniul Coroanei Segarcea
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